Posts Tagged ‘Ruth’
The story of Ruth is one of a family in dissolution. Naomi’s husband and two sons die, leaving her with her two daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth. By the end of the book, family is found once again. Ruth marries Boaz and they have a child Obed, who is raised by Naomi (Ruth 4: 17).
From this perspective, the book of Ruth parallels the story of Judah and Tamar in the book of Bereishit. There, too, the family of Judah was in disarray. Two of his sons, Er and Onan, had died. Judah was reluctant to have his third son marry Tamar, the widow of his older two sons.
At the conclusion of the story, Judah’s family also comes together after he has relations with Tamar from whom twins were born.
Interestingly, the mechanism used to reunite the fragmented family in both stories is yibum – the Levirate marriage. In the yibum process, a man is directed to marry the widow of his brother who had been childless. In the case of Ruth, she marries Boaz; Judah does the same when he marries Tamar.
Rabbi David Silber points out similarities in the yibum of the two stories. In both, a double yibum is performed. Judah marries Tamar since both of his deceased sons to whom Tamar had been married had no children. Boaz marries Ruth, but through Ruth, the line of Naomi, was perpetuated.
In both stories, the man performing the redemption is reluctant to perform the good deed. Judah hesitates to allow Tamar to marry into his family; Boaz also seems reluctant to marry Ruth.
Another common feature in each of these stories is that a woman teaches the reluctant man his responsibility to bring the family together. Tamar does this by reminding Judah of his responsibility to marry her and Ruth does the same, reminding Boaz of his responsibility.
Finally, it can be suggested that both stories are segues to our nationhood. Soon after Judah’s family is reunited we become a nation, and the book of Exodus begins. Soon after, Ruth and Boaz marry they have a child, from whom ultimately the Messiah will come – marking the redemption of the Jewish people.
Both of these stories remind us of the confluence between family and nation. In this time of great challenge and struggle in Israel, may we feel the pain of what is happening not merely as fellow members of the Jewish nation but in the deepest way, as members of our own family.
On Shavuot, which Jews celebrated yesterday (and which is still being celebrated by Jews outside of Israel today) the Jewish people traditionally read the Book of Ruth. According to various Jewish sages, this is done because (a) the holiday of Shavuot falls in the harvest season and a great part of the story of Ruth took place during the barley harvest; (b) King David was one of Ruth’s descendants and King David’s birthday and death date both fall on Shavuot; and (c) because Ruth was an excellent model for all righteous converts to Judaism, and during the Mount Sinai event the people of Israel experience a similar rebirth as they transform from a people composed of freed slaves into the Nation of Israel in a covenant with God.
The Ruth story demonstrates how all Jews should treat the strangers among us. The righteous Boaz looked out for Ruth, even though she was of foreign origin and was part of the Moabite nation that didn’t have such a pleasant history with the Israeli nation. Boaz’s behavior demonstrates how Jewish ethics teach us that we should always look out for the unfortunate, regardless which nation they are part of and what our history is with that nation.
Excellent contemporary examples of Israel living by this principle include an Israeli hospital looking after a disabled Palestinian baby who has been abandoned by his parents, Israel providing medical treatment for Iraqi children with heart problems, Israeli soldiers assisting a Palestinian child who was injured by a Palestinian rock thrower, Israel offering medical assistance to a Sudanese woman, and Israel treating Syrians who were wounded as Assad kills his own people. Israel continues to provide Palestinians, Iraqis, Sudanese people, and other members of enemy nations the chance to receive medical treatment in Israel due to our understanding of Jewish ethics and values.
Another important lesson that the story of Ruth offers is a guide for how non-Jews can become Jewish. Judaism teaches that all converts need to be rejected three times, before they are permitted to embrace the Jewish faith. Then, upon entering the Jewish nation, they become strongly committed Jews, for they wanted to become Jewish so badly that they overcame all obstacles in order to achieve this. Indeed, Naomi rejected Ruth’s requests to come with her to Israel more than once, before she relented and let her join her.
Furthermore, Boaz, by letting Ruth glean on his fields, was also ensuring that Naomi was taken care of, even though both she and her husband abandoned Israel during a time of famine while Boaz remained behind to help others, and even though Naomi’s husband died because he was not generous enough with the poor. Boaz’s treatment of Naomi teaches us that we should always take care of our family when they are in need, especially if they are widows, regardless what that relative has given in return.
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Hundreds of articles detailing the real life and passionate fight of the Jewish community of Hebron to maintain their historic and modern claims to the city purchased by the Jewish patriarch Abraham have been published online.
David Wilder, the spokesperson for The Committee of the Jewish Community of Hebron, has made available almost 20 years worth of writings, revealing the personal, local, and national struggle to preserve the Jewish presence in the hotly contested city, sharing the setbacks, successes, heartbreak and hope – and most of all, the unswerving determination of the Hebron faithful.
Wilder, who has lived for the past 30 years in Hebron and neighboring Kiryat Arba, was born in New Jersey, and speaks around the world on behalf of Hebron, raising funds to develop the community and welcome guests who come to visit the Tomb of the Patriarchs – resting place of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah – and the Tomb of Ruth and Jesse.
Mordechai Ben David, Chaim Yisrael, Udi Davidi and Shlomo Katz performed to a packed audience on Wednesday in the Jewish biblical city of Hebron, burial ground of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah, and Jewish ancestors and notables Jesse, Ruth, and Avner.
Former IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Moshe “Boogie” Yaalon also made an appearance at Sukkot celebrations in the city.
“It just shows how much people love Hebron”, English spokesman for the Jewish Community of Hebron David Wilder told the Jewish Press.
Images of Sukkot 2012 in Hebron.
A Hebrew interview with Yaalon in Hebron.
The British Broadcasting Corporation “got it wrong” in its reporting of the massacre of the Fogel family by Palestinians in the West Bank village of Itamar, the broadcaster’s outgoing director-general said at a parliamentary committee hearing.
In March 2011, Arabs entered the Fogels’ home and murdered Udi, 36, Ruth, 35, and their children, Yoav, 11, Elad, 4, and Hadas, who was 3 months old. Another daughter, who was outside of the house at the time of the killings, came home and discovered the bodies.
Two Arab men were each sentenced to five consecutive life sentences for the Fogels’ murders.
Mark Thompson of the BBC made the admission June 19 while being quizzed by Conservative member of parliament Louise Mensch, according to the London Jewish Chronicle.
In complaining about the light coverage of the event on BBC radio and television programs, the newspaper reported that Mensch said, “I only found out, after the event, from an American blog, called ‘Dead Jews is no news,’ and the more I went into it, the more shocked I was. There was a feeling that the BBC just didn’t care and that if a settler had opened the home of a Palestinian family, slit the throat of their children, that the BBC would have covered that.”
Thompson, according to the Jewish Chronicle, responded that the story occurred during a “very busy news period,” including the fighting in Libya and the tsunami in Japan and that “news editors were under a lot of pressure.”
He reportedly added, “Having said that, it was certainly an atrocity which should have been covered across our news bulletins that day… But I do want to say, to all our audience, including our Jewish and Israeli audiences here and around the world, we do want to make sure we are fair and impartial. We made a mistake in this instance.”
Google Chief Eric Schmidt, Dr. Ruth, and Nobel Laureate Prof. Daniel Kahneman Offer Recipes for ‘Better Tomorrow’Wednesday, June 20th, 2012
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and Nobel laureate Professor Daniel Kahneman headlined the first plenary session of the Israeli Presidential Conference, presenting their prescriptions for bringing about “a better tomorrow.”
The panel also featured world record-holding Paralympic swimmer Keren Leibovitch, Yuri Milner, a leading Internet entrepreneur and venture capitalist and Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the renowned sex therapist.
Several of the panelists focused on the tremendous potential offered by technology, including social media, the rapid growth of smartphones and mobile devices and the widening of Internet access in the developing world.
“The smartphone revolution will be universal,” said Schmidt, emphasizing the need to increase Internet access in the developing world. “There are only one billion people with smartphones and two billion with access to the Internet. The World Wide Web has yet to live up to its name. Technology does not produce miracles, but connectivity, even in modest amounts, changes lives.”
Dr. Ruth spoke of her personal motivations and the lessons she would impart to the next generation.
“Young people need to get out there, stop complaining and do something productive,” said the 84-year old Dr. Ruth. “I survived the Holocaust, whereas 1.5 million children didn’t. I knew I needed to commit myself to Tikkun Olam (fixing the world).”